With digital payments taking over the world, it’s no wonder that you might get hacked, or robbed without knowing it.
I remember the first time my aunt told me about having $200 dollars taken out of her internet card, not to mention the frenzy I felt when paying my $500 ticket to Lisbon using my own debit card. So I checked a few online sources and learned about the different methods I could secure my own online transactions. Here are a few I’d like to share with you:
1. Ensure a strong password & Install a Firewall
First choose a password wisely, and avoid sharing it with strangers or on social media. Avoid using names and birthdays of people you know; also make sure to change your password every two to three months. According to cyberaware.gov.uk, for strong passwords it’s best to combine three random unrelated words, with a number or symbol; the longer the password the better.
Next, install an antivirus or firewall app; listing a few are BitDefender, Kaspersky, Avast Pro. If that’s still not possible always browse using private Wi-Fi, and install some browser extensions that make your browser a little more hacker proof. Examples of such extensions are: uBlock Origin, or Privacy Badger.
2. Use Mobile more than Desktop
This does not mean you won’t be hacked, but the chances are less. According to MWR, an independent cyber security consultancy, the main advantage lies in mobiles’ operating systems which are able to offer enhanced security through: closed ecosystems, certificate pinning, application sand boxing, restricted privileges, jailbreak detection etc.. ( for a look at their findings refer to their article on “Mobile vs PC Banking”).
4. Go for a Credit Card instead of a debit card
As mentioned by mymoneymantra.com, credit cards are more secure than debit cards, for credit cards involve the bank paying on your behalf. So you have a better chance to reverse the fraudulent transaction.It’s also preferable that you dedicate only one card for your online transactions, this way chances of getting hijacked are less.
5.Push for two-step verification
Ask for two step verification from both Google and your bank.Two- step or two factor authentication requires more than your username and password. It demands that you provide information that only you know making it harder for hackers to access your personal data. For instance, Google’s process involves asking for your personal number, or another email you have access to. Banks on the other hand use 3D secure, a security protocol that prevents fraud in transactions with credit cards and debit cards online. To activate it, you have to register for it. Once an online purchase is in process, the bank will ask you for a 3D secure PIN, or it will send you an OTP via SMS. Note that this procedure fully works if the Merchant has implemented 3D secure too.
6. Browse Incognito & Access the ‘HTTPS’ instead of the ‘HTTP’ websites.
According to TimesNownews.com, it’s best to browse in incognito mode this way all history, cookies, and cache data are cleared. Additionally, if you’re not browsing incognito, then disable autocomplete password storage in your browser, and abide by Mike Shema’s advice: always access the HTTPS instead of the HTTP site since “HTTPS provides confidentiality, integrity and identity.”
7. Last but Not Least Always Track Your Online Balance
Not only does this keep you on the alert for suspicious fraudulent activity, but it also enables you to detect mistakes you or your bank have made. Moreover, it allows you to catch automatic payments that haven’t been processed yet.
All in all, securing your online transactions solely depends on your own pro-activeness and awareness.
Originally published at www.yaraabboud.me.